Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide for the Nov. 5, 2019 elections are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot. Guide does not include uncontested races.

Vandalia-Butler School Board {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Elect 2

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  • Paula Jo Gibbs-Licher

  • Mary Kilsheimer

  • Candidate picture

    Dawson Vandervort

  • Rodney Washburn

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Biographical Information

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing the school district? How would you deal with them?

What makes you qualified to be on the school board and gives you an advantage over other candidates?

What is your position on state testing and graduation requirements?

What would you do to close the skills gap that employers say is hindering their ability to find workers?

Are there any areas where you believe the school district currently underspends, or overspends?

Is the school district doing enough to ensure student safety? If not, what else should they be doing?

Are there any subjects or topics not currently being taught (or not taught broadly enough) that you would like to see expanded?

What other changes could be made that you think would improve students’ academic performance?

If you had to choose between increasing the number of regular teachers, to lower class size, or increasing the number of counselors/social workers/mental-health therapists/school resource officers to deal with non-academic issues, which would you choose?

What other information do you want voters to have about you?

Education Graduate of Vandalia Butler 1988 Some College
1. Classroom size. Hire more teachers and make the class size smaller. 2. More Parent Involvement. Education starts long before a child steps into a school. Help organize community workshops to help parents and their children interact thru activities that benefits the child. 3. Funding. Help better educate the community on the needs to keep our school district in a position to help future generations to thrive.
I am a graduate of Butler High. I am also a homeowner and business owner/operator in Vandalia, who is active in the community and has a vested interest in the school district. As a business owner I am responsible for day to day operations, tasks I perform for my business are similar to the tasks I would perform for the school board. I spend countless hours on researching, experimenting, training and learning new techniques to adapt to changing times. This is my advantage over the other candidates.
State testing is good to help the district know how well our students are learning and what areas they need to improve on. It keeps the curriculum up to date and the lets the teachers aware of students learning abilities. I feel the graduation requirements are necessary so that students are focused on what is needed to prepare them for their future.
Meet with employers of businesses in the community to find out what kinds of skills are most needed and try and incorporate them into the curriculum or offer a program that will help teach the necessary skills.
While the district is still recovering from the last levy failure, a long range plan for educational standards, facility planning and staffing have been formed. I feel the district is doing the best it can on the tight budget that they have been given.
I feel that the school have evolved and has implemented safety issues well.
I think Home Economics, Music and Auto should be taught. Money management, or learning how to fill out a W2 or filing taxes. These are things that I feel help prepare all students for life.
We can not help or directly improve the home life of any child. The school should be a safe haven for students. A child should not worry about where their next meal is coming from or a clean shirt. If a child is able to talk to a mentor/teacher about issues at home or in life, I feel academically their grades would become better. We need to get the community more involved with the issues of the school district and finding ways to get more support.
More teachers. The size of the classrooms need to be smaller so that teachers are able to have more one on one time with students. I believe that more time spent with a teacher and a student helps reduce stress and thus helps reduce the need of counselors/social workers.
I love this community. This is why I stepped in to help save the Oktoberfest for the Sister Cities of Vandalia. I have instituted the Butler High Arts & Craft show. I have done those things because I know that they benefit the high school with funds. I feel that the heart of the community is the school. If I can help the school thrive then I feel the community will continue to grow. I am proud to be an Aviator.
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Experience -3 years in the University of Dayton's Audit, Risk, and Compliance office. -Intern for CROSO non-profit in Chicago and Ohio Statehouse District 08 -Recipient of "Dawson Vandervort Day" in Vandalia, OH 2.16.17 -Honors student, double major/double minor -Core program teaching assistant (UD)
Education Junior year of College with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy
1. Our overall achievement and preparedness grades have slide down to C's and D's. Education is not only the foundation of a successful person, but it is the foundation of successful communities. Ignoring the systemic issues within the education systems at local levels is the worst thing a school board can do. I hope to implement new classes and extracurricular resources by diverting money from other areas of the schools budget and reinvesting them into our curriculum. 2. Disengagement with the community is next. speaking with parents and students has displayed the malfeasance they see in caring for the future of the student body. There are staff members who have priority's other than their student's success. Bringing fresh perspectives to the board will help mitigate this issue. 3. Third is infrastructure related. We have aging buildings and no public transport for the high school. I want to work with facilities to maintain the buildings and try to bring buses back if possible
The best quality I bring is my youth. I have taken the ACT, Pre-ACT, PSAT, and applied to college in the last 4-5 years. I took the OGT's within the last 6 years. I have applied for the FAFSA every year for three years, and just finished the latest one this week. While other candidates post full degrees and full-time jobs, I am still very much living the life of a student, one who is frustrated with a system that has antiquated, inequitable, and intransigent issues. So, in the conventional sense, I may not be 'qualified' with years of experience in business or coaching, but if anything I, like all students my age, am more qualified to talk about student issues than people who have not been in school for decades. I mean no offense in saying this, but I do think there should be at least one student helping make the decisions that impact solely students.
State testing, as has been seen recently in state legislation, is no longer a satisfactory measure of student success. State testing doesn't capture the full abilities of all students, yet it limits all students in their future opportunities should they not perform as well as is state mandated. Graduation requirements follow suit, but are more important because they can be flexible throughout each individual district. Statewide testing does not account for inadequate resources awarded to each district, so their use can put some students at a disadvantage. This is precisely why Vandalia-Butler's achievement ratings have slipped as of late. I understand why getting rid of state testing all at once is impractical, but there have been colleges in the area that don't require ACT scores anymore, so I look to that as hope to cautiously phase out state testing in the future.
I believe this issue gets back to my main concern for the school district: vertically-integrated curriculum. The school doesn't offer an incredible diverse set of classes, which limits the skills students can grow, or the skills they can discover they have. Schools with more successful ratings offer classes that dive into analytical history, philosophy, intersectional studies, and more. If students are able to fill out a horizontally integrated curriculum, they will also develop a wide array of skills that go beyond any one specific job description. I also believe that increasing the range of classes offered will open up the job market in the schools and garner competition that is healthy for the students.
From what I've seen and heard in campaigning, it seems obvious the school has been underspending in the classroom. If state reports show the success rates of a school falling behind, spending on instruction should increase, not decrease or stagnate. There has been a considerable increase in extracurriculars, especially athletics, and that is necessary for a student's success. However, prioritizing anything but instruction, as seems the case lately, hurts the student body overall when they're in dire need of increased instruction.
I think Vandalia-Butler has done a great job of ensuring the student's physical safety, and it has shown because I have not been made aware of external threats save for a bomb threat I remember being investigated when I was still at the school. Internal threats, such a physical bullying, fighting, etc. were also not very prevalent during my time in the school district, and continue to be taken care of well. I am only given pause when it comes to mental security. I worry there may not be proper resources for students who need counseling year-long. This could be an issue with marketing the proper resources, or maybe the counselors should be relieved of duties outside caring for student's well-being and academic success. My counselor at Butler was incredibly conscientious and I highly recommend the school finds employees as passionate as she is. An atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance, and friendship is important to foster successful communities.
The school seems to lack classes that teach critical thinking, which is the most important part of the college application process. Most colleges search for students who can analyze and think critically, so this would raise the achievement grade tremendously. I find inspiration in a program at UD called Core that teaches an interdisciplinary course of advanced historical studies, English, and philosophy. This would be impractical to implement at the school because it is incredibly intense, but interdisciplinary classes are something to strive for. Not just teaching history, but teaching how to analyze so that students can understand why history happens, who history is written for, and what history means in certain contexts. This way, students can open the door to questioning why certain events are recorded, and why some aren't. They can understand not only how to do algebra, but why its advent is important to the historical moment of its creation.
Investing in the arts as much as we invest in athletics would be a welcome change. To pair with my love for interdisciplinary classes is the intersection between art and math, art and the mind, even art and sports. The arts can supplement learning as a creative outlet to express feelings and learn more. Music can help students understand math because of the mathematical scales in music theory. Art classes give is an interesting and important window into history, physics, math, sociology, and many many more fields. I am a full believer in supplementing the arts with athletics and academics of other varieties.
If the premise is to handle non-academic issues, I would choose counselors, social workers, and the like because employers such as these go to school for precisely these purposes. They are passionate about helping with non-academic affairs, something that not all teachers revel in. The skills gap mentioned earlier can be seen through this very question because assuming teachers are equipped to also facilitate mental-health or social work discussions is an unsustainable practice. Cultivating healthy relationships with students is an important part of every teacher's job, but there are instances where professionals could be much more useful and it would help students succeed across the board.
I want voters to know that my interests lie solely in the success of the schools. I have 4 siblings going through Vandalia-Butler, and I want to provide resources to them and their peers that were not afforded to me and mine. My youth is easily the best reason to vote for me, because nobody knows the school system better than somebody currently in it. Schools are different than they used to be, they are much more expensive and competitive. My success at Butler and UD should be seen as a my expertise.
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